Twilight of the Bad Lieutenant

Twilight of the Bad Lieutenant (photo)

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Holiday festivities are about to kick into full gear, but you wouldn’t know it looking at this angst-ridden release slate, since the closest we come to Christmas is Nicolas Cage’s “Bad Lieutenant” doing a lot of “snow.” Instead, planets are discovered, new moons rise and suns set.

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“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans”
Ever since Nicolas Cage was shown clinging to his “lucky crackpipe,” cinephiles have been jonesing for Werner Herzog’s re-imagining of Abel Ferrara’s arthouse cop thriller. After months of backbiting between Ferrara, who suggested that the film’s producers “burn in hell,” and Herzog’s admission that he had never seen the original film, audiences will finally see Cage in the shoes of Terence McDonagh, the hopped-up, hopelessly bent detective who shakes down suspects and random pedestrians on the trail of an elusive kingpin responsible for the brutal slaying of five Senegalese immigrants.
Opens in limited release.

“The Blind Side”
Having solidified her rom-com career this summer, Sandra Bullock gets more serious this fall as a feisty champion of the less fortunate in this drama from “The Rookie” writer/director John Lee Hancock, based on the early life of NFL offensive lineman Michael Oher. Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy, a God-fearing Tennessean who takes the gentle giant (Quinton Aaron) off the streets of Memphis and, with the aide of her husband (Tim McGraw) and Kathy Bates’ no-nonsense tutor, sets about rebuilding his shambolic education and turning him into an NFL-quality left tackle.
Opens wide.

“Broken Embraces”
Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz, one of the very best director/star partnerships, reunite once more for this genre-splicing love story, flitting from light to dark with all the trademark cinematic verve we’ve come to expect from the Spanish auteur and his muse. A pretzel-plotted saga of love lost and revenge sought, the story tells of Mateo Blanco (Lluís Homar), a blind filmmaker who, upon learning of the death of his former friend and producer Ernesto Martel (José Luis Gómez), is approached by the man’s resentful son to write a script eviscerating his late father in fiction. The picture drifts back to the early ’90s as Blanco recalls the time both he and Martel vied for the affections of a wannabe actress/call girl (Cruz). In Spanish with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

With the dark shadow of the Holocaust still hanging over Israeli culture, documentary filmmaker Yoav Shamir examines the roots of anti-Semitism and tags along with a group of Jewish-American leaders and a class of Israeli high school students for a diversity of perspectives on the subject. What Shamir finds is a controversy over the victim complex that the term promotes, who it benefits and how this perceived menace has become seriously big business for those who claim to want to erase it.
Opens in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Documentarian Tao Ruspoli turns on his handheld camera for his first narrative feature, which not so coincidentally follows Milo and Bella, a couple of documentarians (Ruspoli and Olivia Wilde) who chaperone Milo’s skeezy brother Leo (Shawn Andrews) on his final day before a court-imposed stint in rehab for their latest film. Quickly discovering that he doesn’t have the money to pay for treatment (which means prison instead), the couple reluctantly dabble in drug dealing themselves to come up with the cash in a down and dirty fusion of “Go” and “The 25th Hour,” all to a soundtrack of Black Prez and Ima Robot, among others.
Opens in limited release.

“Frontier of Dawn”
Veteran French helmer Philippe Garrel directs his son Louis in this throwback to the heyday of the French New Wave, a drama sprinkled with elements of the supernatural that charts the fine line between blissful intoxication and insanity. Garrel Jr stars as François, a young photographer left reeling from the suicide of Carole (Laura Smet), an actress with whom he had an affair. A year later, François is looking to marry and move on, but is plagued by visions of the ghostly Carole, beckoning him to join her in the land of the dead. In French with subtitles.
Opens in New York.

A real-life treasure hunt, this debut from director Darius Marder dug up the best documentary prize at last year’s L.A. Film Festival and was recently nominated for a Cinema Eye Honor. With only the sketchy details of two World War II vets’ less-than-reliable memory as a guide, Marder follows Lance Larson, an amateur treasure hunter, as he scours the once bombed out rural locale of an Austrian village and the dense jungles of the Philippines in search of buried riches that the soldiers plundered 60 years earlier.
Opens in New York.

Celebrated Swedish writer/director Lukas Moodysson looks to garner an international audience with this, his first English-language feature, a transcontinental affair encompassing a trio of thematically linked narratives that invites obvious comparisons to “Babel.” In New York, Michelle Williams and Gael García Bernal’s bored millionaire married couple all but surrender the upbringing of their child to their live-in nanny (Marife Necesito), whose presence, in turn, leaves her own children in the Philippines without her. The situation is further exasperated when Bernal’s video game mogul travels to Thailand, where he comes into contact with a streetwise sex worker (Run Srinikornchot), who does what she has to in order to take care of her child. In English and Tagalog and Thai with subtitles.
Opens in limited release.

“The Missing Person”
“Revolutionary Road” star Michael Shannon stars as a well-groomed private eye hired to follow a man who was believed to have died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in this Sundance alum written and directed by Noah Buschel. Amy Ryan, Frank Wood and Margaret Colin co-star.
Opens in New York; opens in Los Angeles on November 27th.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.